Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WOW: Iraqi Army Rescues Western Journalist in Basra

Just mull over the contours of this headline for a few moments:


What is this? I mean, what is this? What’s the right word to describe this?

Is it ‘irony’? Is it the “incongruity between what might be expected to happen and what actually happens” as my little dictionary defines ‘irony’?

Richard Butler, a British journalist working for CBS News, was auspiciously rescued today by an Iraqi Army unit that had been conducting a security sweep through a once-volatile Basra neighborhood—one that was until recently dominated by militants—in which he had been held captive since February 10.

I mean if any event could be seen as a send-up to how western reporters have covered Operation Cavalry Charge in Basra, then this would be it!

Instead of praying for Butler’s safety, instead of taking a stand on right and wrong, the foreign press threw their sympathies behind the outlaws; those western reporters did not hold candle-lit vigils for their kidnapped comrade, since professional solidarity can’t hold a candle to the venality of Bush hatred. It was far more important for these journalists to root for the Sadrist-related criminal cartels that are being targeted by the continuing military operations in Basra and elsewhere than to admit that Iraq may be fixing itself, and may not, after all, turn into the ‘fiasco’ they’ve been heralding with certainty for so long.

Some of these outlaws may very well have been the same killers who’d abducted and murdered Steven Vincent in August 2005. Was Vincent’s blood not enough of a marker to distinguish between the bad guys and the good guys in this battle? Well, clearly not for the likes of Glanz, Raghavan and Ware—who’ve constructed their own psychosomatic brand of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in Iraq.

This rescue is also a send-up to the British military, cowering as they have been at the periphery of Basra: What have they done to save one of their own? It fell to Iraqi soldiers, the same ones the Brits were ridiculing as inept and gutless to whichever journalist would jot such rancor down, to bail out one of Her Majesty’s abandoned subjects.

I wonder how all this will be spun in tomorrow’s editions. For the time being, we can all warm up to the glow of this happy ending.


Anonymous DJElliott said...

Have you seen a unit ID associated with this yet.

I haven't. If it was luck, they probably would be bragging about the unit.

If it was intel driven, then this was the ISOF Commando Battalion and ISOF does not advertise...

11:50 AM, April 14, 2008

Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

Tommorows papers will be blathering about how Bilal Hussein has been freed by tenacious journalists pressuring the evil "Ameriki".

Then will have more stories about how Hugo Chavez is going to set up a NATO of South America. (The stories will ignore the mess every defense minister in South America made in his pants at this news)

Then we will here about how the Humanitarian, Moqtada AlSadr is feeding the poor people of Sadr City....

What we won't here about it that anyone that attempts to feed the poor people of Sadr City gets shot at by Moqtada's goons.

Admitting that the powerful Mehdi Army is held together by threats of being starved to death by Moqtada's goons just does not fit the template.

It would hard, even for the most leftarded to support a cause that threatens people with starvation. So we will just pretend that it isn't happening.

8:42 PM, April 14, 2008

Blogger bg said...


here is the report i read and
posted @ ITM earlier today..

OH HELL YES IRAQ/IS!! WOOT!! (thumbsup)

Iraq forces free kidnapped British journalist


[Iraqi security forces freed a British journalist kidnapped two months ago in the main southern city of Basra on Monday after
a fierce firefight with his abductors, Iraqi officials said.

Richard Butler was found in a room handcuffed
and with a hood over his head, they said.

Soon after his release, Butler was shown on state television surrounded by Iraqi military officials who hugged and applauded him before sitting down with the journalist to share a meal.

The tousle-haired Butler, who had been on assignment with US television network CBS when he was abducted along with his Iraqi translator on February 10, praised the soldiers who had freed him.

"The Iraqi army stormed the house and overcame my guards
and then burst through the door," said a smiling Butler.

"I had my hood on, which I had to have on all the time.
And they shouted something at me and I pulled my hood off."

Looking healthy, Butler added: "I am looking forward to seeing my family and my friends at CBS."

"We are incredibly grateful that our colleague, Richard Butler,
has been released and is safe," CBS said in a statement.

The photographer was later taken to the British base at Basra airport where he was given a medical examination, a British official said.

Iraqi defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said on state television that troops from the army's Fourteenth Division raided Basra's Jubaiyia neighbourhood earlier on Monday.

The action was part of extensive operations against Shiite militiamen in Basra by the Iraqi forces launched on March
25 under orders from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

"There was some indication that there was a target there,
but we didn't know it was the British journalist," Askari said.

"Our forces advanced towards a house and were confronted by heavy fire from four gunmen. The fight lasted for 30 minutes. One of them was arrested but the three others fled. One was wounded.

"When we entered the house, we found the British journalist. He
is in good health. We have handed him over to a British general."]

more @ link..

ps: i never read the NYT or the WaPo..


9:35 PM, April 14, 2008

Blogger bg said...


oh btw..

Iraq snubbed Britain during Basra battle

Relations between Britain and Iraq suffered “catastrophic failure” after Baghdad bypassed the British military and called in the American “cavalry” to help the recent offensive against Shia militia in Basra, The Times has learnt.

About 550 US troops, including some from the 82nd Airborne Division, were sent from Baghdad to Basra to join up with 150 American soldiers already serving with Iraqi forces in the southern city.

The Times has learnt, however, that when Britain’s most senior officer in Basra, Brigadier Julian Free, commander of 4 Mechanised Brigade, flew into the city to find out what was going on, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, who was orchestrating the attacks on militia strongholds, declined to see him.

A source familiar with the sequence of events said that Mr al-Maliki seemed to have it in for the British because of the alleged “deal” struck with the Shia militia last year under which they agreed not to attack Britain’s last battalion as it withdrew from Basra in return for the release of several of their leading members from prison.

i read the same thing elsewhere (not the NYT).. i'll see if i can relocate it.. at any rate, they can't help much if they're not wanted.. and if there's one place on Earth they have not been, are not, and will not be wanted in it's Basra, go figure..

God Bless Soldiers everywhere for putting THEIR
lives on the line to protect us ALL from terrorism!

btw.. Brits gave of their lives &
limbs for Iraqis too you know..


9:52 PM, April 14, 2008

Blogger bg said...


ps: if it wasn't for Blair & Britian.. the US probably wouldn't have been able to take the Saddam Regime out in the first place..

seems to me some Iraqi have acquired "short term memory syndrome" many US citizens suffer from..


9:59 PM, April 14, 2008

Blogger Don Cox said...

There is a problem with the Brits, but it isn't the soldiers, it's the voters. Public opinion in the UK is so strongly against the Iraq war that the government has had to tell the army to play it safe at all costs. Every injury to a British soldier in Iraq loses votes for the Labour Party. Blair is firmly and permanently branded by about 99% of the British public as a liar, especially about WMDs.

2:10 AM, April 15, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the opinion that Blair and the British soldier deserve honor. Even if Malaki is peeved at the political winds that are currently causing the Brits to be extra-careful, he should try to keep on their good side.

12:46 PM, April 15, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Britains gave thier lives for Iraq, you know!". Must have been mostly journalists. Why did Iraqis even waste time saving a reporter. Especially a British one who is most likely writing trash about the Iraqis.

7:24 PM, April 15, 2008

Blogger bg said...


bit of a thumbsupdate for you.. :)

Operation Charge of Knights Continues Progress in Basrah


[A deliberate house-to-house clearance operation of the south-western Basrah district of al-Qiblah was conducted without major incident. It resulted in significant quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives being found. To date, Coalition forces involvement has been minimal, reflecting the ever increasing ability and resolve of the Iraqi Security Forces to enforce the rule of law.

Iraqi operations in al-Qiblah to date have yielded an improvised explosive device factory, numerous weapons handed over by locals, or left in the streets, in addition to two significant arms cache finds with numerous IEDs, mortars and RPGs.

Operations have not been limited to Basra. A senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leader was arrested at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the small town of Abu al-Khasib 20 kilometers southeast of Basrah.]

[Elsewhere, United Kingdom and United States Military Transition Teams, or MiTTs, are embedded with Iraqi Security Forces. These teams are providing advice and support to the units they work alongside.

The atmosphere inside the city has generally been calm over the past two weeks. The people of Basrah are proud of what the Iraqi Security Forces, both Police and Army, have achieved in the city. Many Iraqis feel positive progress has been made against criminal elements, as life returns to normal.

The Port of Umm Qasr opened a few days after the start of Operation Charge of the Knights, having been secured by the Iraqi Army. The port is now operating, with the Government of Iraq working to bring it up to recognized international standards. An Iraqi Navy detachment has taken over port security from the Army.

“Basrah is one step closer to realising its true potential,” said Maj. Tom Holloway, a spokesman for Multi-National Division - Southeast. “There is much further to go, but recent operations in the city have been described by locals as the most significant events since 2003. The sense of optimism is palpable, and the desire by Basrawis to seize the moment is evident.”]


10:06 PM, April 15, 2008

Blogger fooburger said...

This all is very confusing... on one hand, Maliki seems to have some power behind him. On the other, the whole thing starts to look like Fatah (Maliki) vs. HAMAS (Sadrists) in Palestine. HAMAS was wooing the people by giving out food and bribing them for support meanwhile building up their private militia. Seems like that's what the Sadrists have been trying to do in Iraq? Is that accurate?
I wouldn't draw a parallel between Maliki and Abbas except in the sense that their enemies seem to be using similar tactics.
In any case, there's too much money being spent by this group and it's definitely coming from somewhere. Crushing this group militarily may not help if they'll still be able to rehire militia members afterwards because the money hasn't been stopped.
I'm just terribly confused about the whole ordeal and why Iraq hasn't managed to suppress the indiscriminate bombings. What does Iraq have to do, can the US help, and if so, how?

3:06 AM, April 17, 2008

Blogger bg said...


women in basra: living in a big prison.. :(


[Justifying the lack of any interference by British troops to stop political parties, militias and gangs from spreading unrest in the city, a former British commander said that his troops did not want to breach the “traditions” of Basra’s society. The government is using similar arguments. An official in the Supreme Security Committee of the province’s council has denied the existence of organized religious and sectarian crime against women, claiming that 85% of murder incidences are “honor crimes”. Declining to reveal the number of “slaughtered” women, a leading source in Basra’s police said that disclosing such information would create turmoil in the city.

Um Naba’, a woman working at one of the city’s banks says: “violence and oppression practiced against women in Basra have weakened women’s participation in key positions. Many women now prefer to isolate themselves, to stay in their homes. They refuse to work, fearing the unknown that awaits them.”

Women working in beauty shops are those who suffer the highest risk. Um Salwan, owner of a beauty shop says: “we do not know what they want from us. We do not know what they are after. Messages are scrawled in graffiti in Basra streets warning women about their appearance and their way of life, and threatening them with death if they do not obey the messages. Many women have been slaughtered by these fundamentalists.” Um Salwan blames religious leaders “who spend huge amounts of money printing flyers and booklets that proclaim the taboo of women’s beauty shops and similar activities, while at the same time calling for the respect of human rights.” “Some men came to the beauty salon with a woman to inspect the shop, claiming that they represent a religious party. The same woman came once claiming to represent one of the organizations and promising support”. Um Salwan said that she has been under too much pressure during the last year, and that “one of her colleagues was threatened with murder if she continues to work, and was forced to quit the profession.”]

TG, is this true??

my feelings are it is, but not as severe as portrayed, but what difference does it make if it's one or a thousand & one.. Muqpig, Iranian & other Militia's along with AQ et al must to be ground into sausage with the blessings of the Iraqi Government, period!!


3:30 PM, April 17, 2008


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